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Can You Seek Compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After a Car Accident?

Woman suffering from PTSD after Florida car accident.
Car accidents are stressful events that can result in emotional injuries such as PTSD. Although harder to prove, an experienced injury attorney can help you seek compensation.

A car accident is a traumatizing and stressful event that can leave behind physical injuries, psychological trauma, and emotional scars. While physical injuries are almost always immediately apparent after a car crash, the same cannot be said about psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

PTSD is one of the most common mental health conditions that occur after a car accident. If another driver’s negligent actions resulted in a crash that led to your physical and psychological injuries, including PTSD, it’s vital to contact West Palm Beach car accident attorneys to seek compensation for your suffering and psychological distress. 

PTSD risks and factors after a car accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common psychiatric disorder that affects victims of car accidents and other traumatic events. According to a 2018 study, “Over 50 million people worldwide experience trauma through road traffic accidents (RTAs) yearly, and by the year 2020, the injury caused by RTA will be the 3rd-leading cause of disability.” The study further explains that car accidents increase the risk of victims developing traumas, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression. 

The risk of developing PTSD following a car crash depends on the following factors:

  • The victim’s reaction to the traumatic event;
  • The severity of injuries caused by the crash; 
  • The nature of the accident; 
  • The circumstances surrounding the injury; 
  • Whether the crash led to any fatalities; 
  • The victim’s history of traumatic experience; and
  • The victim’s state of mental health at the time of the accident and the presence of any underlying mental problems. 

It’s not always possible to identify PTSD immediately after a vehicle crash because this type of mental disorder takes time to manifest itself. It is important to visit a hospital for a full medical check-up following a car crash and tell your doctor everything that’s bothering you in terms of physical, mental, psychological, and emotional health following the accident. 

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after car accidents

Florida car accident victim seeking counseling for PTSD.
If you notice symptoms of PTSD, seek medical attention and document your treatment for use in your injury claim.

If you suspect that a car crash resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder, you should keep an eye on the following symptoms of PTSD: 

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intrusive memories of the incident
  • Fear or phobias
  • Nightmares or flashbacks of the incident
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Feeling of guilt
  • A physical reaction to memories of the incident
  • Avoidance of specific places, people, locations, circumstances, or experience (also known as avoidance behavior)
  • Difficulty working or maintaining a job
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

This is not the full list of PTSD symptoms that car accident victims may experience in the weeks, months, and even years following the incident. 

Like physical injuries, PTSD and other psychological and mental health conditions require treatment. If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms following a car crash, consult with a physician immediately. 

Getting a proper diagnosis and documenting your PTSD treatment can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party. After you seek medical attention, be sure to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida to determine whether you are eligible to sue the at-fault party for PTSD in your particular case.

Can you sue for PTSD after a car accident in Florida?

Yes, you can. Under Section 627.7407, Florida Statutes, Florida is a no-fault state that requires drivers to file personal injury claims with their own insurance company regardless of fault. 

However, an injured victim may be allowed to step outside the no-fault system to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company if the victim meets the requirements outlined in Section 627.737, Florida Statutes

One of the requirements is that you suffered a significant and permanent injury. When you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you can sue them for PTSD, mental anguish, pain, suffering, and other mental and psychological injuries associated with the physical injury.  

Since each case is unique, it’s essential to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine whether you meet this “serious injury” requirement in order to sue the at-fault party for PTSD. 

How much compensation can you recover for PTSD?

Compensation for mental anguish, PTSD, and other psychological and mental health issues often represents a significant portion of the victim’s personal injury settlement amount. 

The compensation that you can recover for PTSD following a car crash depends on the severity of your physical injuries and the impact of the injury on your life. 

When a plaintiff has sufficient evidence, including medical treatment records and witness accounts, to prove that PTSD had a significant impact on their life, compensation for mental health issues can equal or even exceed the cost of medical expenses associated with the physical injury.

Contact our Florida injury attorneys to help you seek compensation for PTSD

If you’ve noticed symptoms of PTSD or any other mental health issues following a car accident in Florida, seek medical treatment to (a) start feeling better as soon as possible and (b) get your condition medically documented. Emotional and mental trauma can be harder to prove compared to visible physical injuries, but don’t let that stop you from contacting our personal injury attorneys to determine whether you can sue the at-fault driver for your post-traumatic stress disorder. Fetterman & Associates, P.A. West Palm Beach injury attorneys can help you prove your claim for PTSD and seek the compensation you deserve. Give us a call today 561-845-2510 to schedule your free consultation and discuss your options. 

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